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Old 11-03-2005, 09:26 PM   #1
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Default Question on steeping for partial-mash brew

I am about to brew a Fat Tire Clone which includes about 1 1/2 pounds of grain for mashing (steeping), plus LME, hops, and yeast.

A mash question:

Looks like there are at least 3 options for steeping or mashing.

- Palmer says to steep the grains at 160 degrees, +/- 10 degrees, in a single-stage steep or mash. The instructions that came with the kit are about the same: 155 degrees, 10-30 minutes.
- In his book, Papazian (How to Brew) suggests a three-stage steep, with one steep at 113-130 degrees for a protein rest of 30 minutes, a second steep at around 140 degrees to generate beta-amylase and a third around 150 to generate alpha-amylase enzymes.
- Several recipes also show either one steep at around 150 degrees, or two (one protein rest, one 150 degree steep).

The Fat Tire clone includes 3 varieties of 8 oz each of specialty grains: Special B, Caramel 120L and Munich Malt. I have all the time I need, so that said, which might be the best way to steep (mash) the specialty grains?

I am interested in having the most fermentable sugars (for lower carbs, even if only slightly lower) and higher alcohol content. I don't have a problem with three stage, but don't know if it is recommendable here. The protein rest is one where I am confused as to whether it is needed here.

Thank you in advance for the help!!

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Old 11-03-2005, 09:35 PM   #2
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I'd say keep it simple and steep/mash it at round 150 degrees. A little higher or lower wont kill it. And concidering the amount of grain, I'd say a multi-step mash wouldn't make a difference.

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Old 11-03-2005, 09:40 PM   #3
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Are you just steeping the specialty grains, no 2-row? If that's the case, 30 minutes at 150F is about the best. The Munch will convert fairly well in that time. The Special B and the 120L are camarelized and don't convert, you're just dissolving the sugars.

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Old 11-03-2005, 09:50 PM   #4
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You'll need base malt to achieve starch conversion. Basically, all you'll be doing (for the caramel grains at least) is rinsing the sugar off of them. I would not count on receiving any fermentables from the grains (neglible at best). For your system you'll be relying on extract for your fermentables and the grains for a bit of flavor depth.

A multistage steep is really unnecessary. Soak them for 30 min in 160F water... anything more would just be a waste of time (diminishing returns).

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Old 11-03-2005, 11:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost
You'll need base malt to achieve starch conversion. Basically, all you'll be doing (for the caramel grains at least) is rinsing the sugar off of them. I would not count on receiving any fermentables from the grains (neglible at best). For your system you'll be relying on extract for your fermentables and the grains for a bit of flavor depth.

A multistage steep is really unnecessary. Soak them for 30 min in 160F water... anything more would just be a waste of time (diminishing returns).

Wha? The munich malt will convert it self. The other carmel malts don't need conversion. It's already been accomplished by the heat of carmelization. As David said, you're just disolving the sugars in hot water.

What do you mean by diminishing returns by soaking over 30 minutes? If all the starch from the munich isn't converted, he may need up to an hour to get it done depending on how thick his mash is.
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Old 11-04-2005, 12:48 AM   #6
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Like I said, for the caramelized malts you're only rinsing the sugar from the grains - that's a job for sparging not mashing. Of course steeping the grains in a pot of hot water will not rinse the sugar from the grains nearly as effectively as a true sparge process would. Thus, I maintain my original statement that those grains will do little for the OG - and that has certainly been my experience. Yes, the munich malt contains enough enzymes to convert itself.. and if you're soaking it in a pot of hot water then that equates to a very thin mash.. I'd expect conversion in under 30 minutes. Ultimately, even if you were to have a high degree of efficiency which you won't with a steeping process (especially if you soak at 160 most of your converted sugars will be unfermentable anyway) the grains still would have a neglible effect on your OG.

Assuming a 79% efficiency which is a pretty decent efficiency then those three grains would yield an OG of 1.008 and an abv of .7%. Now.. a more realistic efficiency of 65% yields an OG of 1.006 and abv of .6%. Frankly, I don't think that's even worth considering in the calculations. Add to the that the fact that at 160F the sugars extracted will be mostly unfermentable and I don't see why anyone even figures that steeping results in anything more than a more realistic flavor for the beer. Now, don't get me wrong.. I'm not bashing steeping at all - I did it for a long time. I just don't want people to think that they're going to have significant sugar extraction from the process because that's simply not the case.

Edit: those numbers were for a mash - for a steeping process my program gives me these numbers: abv 3% and OG of 1.003 - even more dismal.

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Old 11-04-2005, 01:13 AM   #7
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Default electric stove

When I did my mash I used an electric stove. It took much longer to reach the 155F mark, and I just kind of figured any other phases, 113-130F etc., were probably reached to any degree necessary.
Lost's calculations make me lost.

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Old 11-04-2005, 06:19 AM   #8
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It depends wether the recipe says Steep or Mash.

If you are mashing you need the grain to contribute sugar to the wort so a proper mash is required.
If you are steeping all you are doing is soaking the grain to release flavour, texture and colour and possibly a little sugar.

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Old 11-04-2005, 12:56 PM   #9
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To reiterate and possibly clear up what Lost is saying: With so little grain involved that requires mashing - the Munich is the only must-be-mashed grain present, presumably only a fraction of the 1.5 lbs of grain - that any variation in efficiency will have negligible results [hrm, I think I failed at the clarification part ]

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